Keep your Pumpkin Beer – I’m a Yam Man!

yamThis weekend I had the pleasure of sampling Autumn Maple ale from The Bruery.  Instead of using pumpkin like many of the other seasonal ales, the Bruery decided to go with yams.  Yes, sweet, sweet yams.

Are they nuts?  I wasn’t sure either and eagerly anticipated tasting this very unusual seasonal brew…

photo-1The pour was a deep and hazy golden brown, topped with a thin yellow-tinged head.  The room was quickly perfumed with the scents of clove and vanilla.  Drawing the beer closer, I could detect a mild blend of hops, spices and an undercurrent of sweet maple.  Even though my description may make it sound like a scented candle, this certainly smelled like a beer.  A very interesting one at that.

The first sip was smooth, sweet and spicy. First came the earthy sweetness of yams, followed by the taste of maple and vanilla, and then finally playful notes of clove and hops.  I think I detected a little bit of apple in there as well.  If I closed my eyes, I could almost smell the damp earthiness of fallen leaves and chimneys smoking their first after a lazy summer.  This beer transports you.  It’s really a special brew.

What really surprised me was how it stacked up to another of my seasonal favorites, Dogfish Head Pumpkin Ale.  I had a Punk last night and suddenly I could taste the pumpkin quite clearly.  It had a just a hint of vegetable taste to it, and it was enough to convince me that yams are a much better choice than pumpkins to infuse the taste of autumn into a seasonal ale.

Pumpkin ale has been widely embraced by beer lovers but I haven’t seen many (or any other) yam ales.  But I now prefer them.  Yams provide a much sweeter, earthier autumnal flavor, without the creepy vegetable taste found in some pumpkin beers.

This beer is quite a treat and really captures the spirit of the season.  It will be on the table for Thanksgiving, that’s for certain.

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Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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21 Comments on “Keep your Pumpkin Beer – I’m a Yam Man!”

  1. October 14, 2009 at 3:11 pm #

    “creepy vegetable taste” well said, sir.
    I’m glad you liked it!

    • Jim
      October 14, 2009 at 3:42 pm #

      It is a creepy taste, and a little shocking to detect in the Dogfish Pumpkin Ale. The Punk is still a great beer, but yams > pumpkins of you ask me. As you know, the Bruery and I got off on the wrong foot with their Black Orchard ale, but this beer more than makes up for it. It is really a masterful brew.

  2. Don
    October 14, 2009 at 3:32 pm #

    Did it come with mini or full size marshmallows? We better watch it or we will become known as the vege beer lover guys! Although all of you, I would like to point out that Hops are a vegetable. They grow them just about a mile from my house. Not a grain…a vegetable. so the next time you are enjoying that really complex hop bomb remember it is veges that are flavoring your brew.

  3. Don
    October 14, 2009 at 3:34 pm #

    Also now are you saying this is your favorite over dogfish head?

    • Jim
      October 14, 2009 at 3:53 pm #

      You might be able to deduce that from the title, no? 🙂

      • Don
        October 14, 2009 at 3:55 pm #

        You go Yam Boy!

  4. October 14, 2009 at 4:38 pm #

    I bet I know where you found this beer. Great concept and I would probably buy it based on the name alone! Mmmmmmm yaaaams.

    Did you know that the hop is directly related to the Brazilian Forest orchid?

    • Jim
      October 14, 2009 at 4:42 pm #

      You should tell someone at Dogfish Head about hops’ Brazillian cousin. I bet they’d make a wicked Rainforest Orchid ale. They’d probably add monkey urine for a more authentic flavor!

  5. October 14, 2009 at 4:39 pm #

    Is that a Gingerbread house in the picture? What’s up with that Jim? I’ve heard those are better aged as well!

    • Jim
      October 14, 2009 at 5:10 pm #

      It is a gingerbread house, but it’s been decontented by a hungry three year old girl. I’m not sure why these are part of Halloween, but the kids do them every year. Maybe next year they can brew daddy some yam beer instead.

  6. October 14, 2009 at 10:33 pm #

    Hey Jim! Glad you like our Autumn Maple! Hope you get a chance to try some more of our brews in the future. Cheers!

    The Bruery

    • Jim
      October 14, 2009 at 11:29 pm #

      I really loved it, Ben – you guys outdid yourselves. I have heard so much about the Bruery, and after this one I know what all the fuss is about.
      Any suggestions on what I should try next? I love big character and complex high ABV brews.

    • Don
      October 15, 2009 at 12:04 am #

      Do you guys sell to the Boise Co Op?

  7. October 14, 2009 at 10:45 pm #

    I’m glad you had a really good Bruery experience. I like this one very much…especially in comparison to the pumpkin ales. Nice title.

    • Jim
      October 14, 2009 at 11:22 pm #

      Yeah Mike, this was a terrific beer. As I’ve said before it was you guys over at THFB that inspired me to try this beauty.

  8. October 15, 2009 at 1:32 am #

    Another one on the ‘must get’ list.

    • Jim
      October 15, 2009 at 1:43 am #

      Yeah, I’m going to load up on a few of these to make sure I have at least one left for Turkey Day.

  9. October 15, 2009 at 1:37 pm #

    I’ve seen this one of late and while I really like the Bruery beers (have black orchard in the fridge for tonight), but I’m not sure if I’m up for another fall spiced vegetable beer. On the other hand I’ve now read your review and Thank Heaven For Beer’s review and it gets such high praise, I may have to take the proverbial plunge and give it a shot.

    I’m glad my life is full of such difficult choices 🙂

    • Jim
      October 15, 2009 at 1:47 pm #

      I recommend picking one up at least. You can always save it for when the mood strikes or when you need your daily supply of veggies.

  10. Rob Crozier
    October 19, 2009 at 1:42 pm #

    Picked a bottle up over the weekend – looking forward to tasting it! There were only 2 left on the shelf at Boonton, hope they have more in the back.


  1. I’ve Begun Hoarding for the Holidays | Beer & Whiskey Brothers Blog - October 27, 2011

    […] actually started several weeks ago, when The Bruery released this year’s batch of Autumn Maple, an ambrosia of a beer that I absolutely must have on my Thanksgiving table.  I still have one […]

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